As Russian President Dmitri Medvedev moves toward the end of his first term of office, what awaits Russia and U.S.-Russian relations? Medvedev has spoken of the need to modernize the Russian economy, attract foreign investment, implement institutional reforms, and create Russia’s own version of Silicon Valley. At the same time, his political mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, has warned against “unjustified liberal experiments” and has proceeded with consolidation of major industries in the State’s hands. Putin’s massive clout remains largely unchallenged.
Medvedev has criticized Russia’s “legal nihilism” and called for the restoration of the rule of law. However, the second conviction of former Yukos Oil Chairman Mikhail Khodorkovsky on what are widely acknowledged to be absurd charges; the apparently deliberate killing of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who exposed official corruption; and the failure to solve the murders of prominent journalists and human rights activists—all point to a society that lacks even elementary rule of law.
Hudson Institute Event Summary, U.S.-Russian Relations: Stagnation or Modernization?